Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 6 PM: Firehole - Puzzle Solved!!.......Just a bit

After a quick lunch somewhere along Madison, I went back to town and dropped by Blue Ribbon Flies again. Besides I dropped the brush of my Frog's Fanny and I needed a new one, I really wanted to ask them about the little caddis emergence that I encountered at Muleshoe Bend of Firehole. Luckily, Craig Mathews was tying flies in the shop so I greeted him and told him my observation and that I had a problem between White Miller and this unknown little caddis and showed him a couple of picture from my camera. He kindly stopped his tying in the middle and showed me one of his books. The book is all about insects in Yellowstone country. He told me to read about one of caddis species, called Helicopsyche. He bet what I saw was this. Just reading a page or two, I knew he was right.

Here's a quick summary that I scanned with my eyes from the book he showed me (without buying).
  • Size 20 & 22
  • Dark/gray wings with amber body
  • Hatches particularly around Muleshoe Bend of Firehole when water gets warmer
  • Also hatches en masse
  • Causes lots of frustration among anglers
  • Up-stream casting refused

Well, I'm not much of a up-stream dry-fly caster anyway at least. That might have been why I managed to entice a few trout by just the size of caddis flies.

At Blue Ribbon Flies, they have all kinds and colors of dubbings. I did pick up right ones. Craig suggested me to mix these to a bit.

At my motel room, I tied up about a dozen flies quickly. Top ones are Iris Caddis and Nick's Soft-hackle for White Miller and bottom ones are X, Iris, and Nick's for Helicopsyche.

Helicopsyche X Caddis is here, tied with TMC 102Y #21.

As I went to Muleshoe Bend around 5:00pm, trout were rising. Again, White Miller caught my eyes but I tied on Helico patterns. It did work!!! Trout rose to my fly positively, not skeptically any more!!

I had to shoot a quick grip-&-grin!!

Yet still frustrating and puzzling. Trout rose to X Caddis and hit on it while swinging but never responded to Iris Caddis and Nick's Soft-hackle tied in the same size and color.
I caught a nice 12-inch rainbow that almost tried to go between my legs!!

Also, what I noticed was that trout really suck on this tiny caddis (and my flies). I was sure my hook-set was as right as any other experience but somehow this tiny pattern was set into throats rather than around mouths. Very puzzling.

As I was inspecting my flies in my motel room, Helico X tied with TMC hook was gape-open.

Probably this is one of the reason that Firehole is referred as "strangest trout stream on earth".

This evening was a great experience for me that I can't express in words. And I believe that's what's all about fly-fishing. I observed what was going on on the water, asked experienced anglers, tied right flies, fished with them, and caught trout.

Yet I had experienced another development in the following evening.............

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